Published On: Wed, Jun 10th, 2020

BBC Newsnight: Nicola Sturgeon weighs in on slave trader tribute debate – ‘long overdue’ | UK | News

“I do think we should have a long, hard look – or perhaps not that long a look – but a hard look at this as a country and the question I would start with is why do we want to continue to have statues and celebrations, and street names of people who profited in and traded in abject human misery? I think there is a discussion beyond that about then what we do with them.

Ms Sturgeon argued that street names and statues may not be “one and the same argument exactly.”

“I live in Glasgow. I represent a constituency in Glasgow and I’ve heard both opinions.

“Rename all of the streets on the one hand, which I’ve got a lot of sympathy for, but on the other hand don’t brush under the carpet the history, the shameful parts of our country’s history.

“So I think there is a debate to be had about do we take statues down? Do we change street names? What do we do then with statues?

Ms Sturgeon said that while people who committed such atrocities against other humans should not be celebrated.

However, she added that there should be a way of educating people on “who hese people where.”

“Certainly though we shouldn’t have statues of people who’ve profited from the slave trade without at the very least a way of making the public know who these people where and what their business was.

“So this is a big debate and long overdue debate and yes, I think there is a role for the Scottish Government to lead that discussion which we will certainly seek to do.”

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Matthew Scott, who runs the BarristerBlogger legal blog, said: ‘Normally the owner of damaged property will provide a statement to the police saying ‘I did not consent to the damage to my property’.

“A prosecution for criminal damage without one would be highly unusual.”

Bristol’s mayor Marvin Rees said the statue had not been “100 percent established” to be owned the council.

Mr Rees previously said: “As an elected politician, I cannot condone criminal damage… but I am of Jamaican heritage and I cannot pretend that.

“It was anything other than a personal affront to me to have it in the middle of Bristol.”

One senior barrister said: “I think the Bristol case with the Colston statue case is dead in the water.”

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they had made no arrests in connection to the events.

A spokesman said: “We’re in the early stage of our investigation and are currently collating statements and reviewing the large amount of footage available to us.

“We’re seeking early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service and will continue to liaise with them as the inquiry progresses.”

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